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News Release

CONTACT: Tom Hardy

January 18, 2007

(Note to journalists: Publication-quality photos of Lawrence Eppley, James Weyhenmeyer and B. Joseph White are available online.)

U. of I. trustees re-elect Board chair, officers, approve new CFO

James D. Montgomery new trustee

CHICAGO—The University of Illinois Board of Trustees today re-elected attorney Lawrence C. Eppley as Board chair and retained the incumbent University comptroller, secretary and counsel in their respective offices. The elections took place at the Board's regular meeting on the U. of I. 's Chicago campus.

The Executive Committee of the Board was approved, and chairs of committees were named.

The trustees also installed new trustee James D. Montgomery, approved Walter K. Knorr as University vice president/chief financial officer and comptroller effective Feb. 1 and appointed James Weyhenmeyer as Interim Vice President for Technology and Economic Development.

U. of I. President B. Joseph White said the leadership of the University is in good hands.

“The University of Illinois is an extraordinary institution,” White said. “A big part of the reason that is true is the quality of trustees who volunteer their time and talent to the U. of I. The University community and I are grateful to them.”

Eppley, 47, of Palatine , was re-elected to his fifth consecutive term as Board chair. “The Board is entrusted with leading the University of Illinois , a world-class institution, an economic engine for Illinois and a gateway of opportunity for the next generation. It is my honor to work with 11 other leaders, my colleagues on the Board of Trustees, to ensure the U. of I. thrives and grows in the coming year.”

An attorney in the corporate practice of Bell , Boyd and Lloyd LLC of Chicago, Eppley was appointed to the Board in 2001 for a six-year term and was reappointed this year for another six years. He earned three degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: a B.S. with high honors in 1982, an M.A.S. in accountancy in 1982 and a law degree in 1985 magna cum laude. In law school, he was a member of the Order of the Coif.

Eppley and his wife Lee Ellen are the parents of two daughters.

The Board of Trustees, which governs the University and its three campuses, has nine statewide members, who each serve staggered six-year terms. The governor, who is an ex officio member of the Board with a vote, appoints all Board members who must be confirmed by the Illinois Senate. The Board also has three student members, one elected from each campus by students. One student trustee has an official vote, and the other two have advisory votes. Trustees serve without pay.

Montgomery, 74, a Chicago attorney, was appointed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to the Board. He is a two-degree alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving a degree in political science in 1953 and a law degree in 1956. A renowned trial attorney, Montgomery is a former City of Chicago corporation counsel and over the years has been a frequent lecturer at law schools throughout the country.

In addition to Eppley as the chair, three other officers of the Board of Trustees were re-elected Thursday to their posts: Stephen K. Rugg, comptroller; Michele M. Thompson, secretary; and Thomas R. Bearrows, University counsel. These officers are not members of the Board; each was re-elected for a single year.

In addition, membership of the Executive Committee, which functions as an instrument of the Board, was set. The three trustees serving on the Executive Committee are Eppley as chair, Niranjan S. Shah of Oakbrook and Kenneth D. Schmidt of Riverwoods.

Trustee Frances Carroll of Chicago was named chair of the Access Committee, a new Board committee.

Chairs of standing committees who were named include:

  • Academic Affairs, Schmidt
  • Athletics, Robert Y. Sperling of Glencoe
  • Budget and Audit, Devon C. Bruce of Chicago
  • Building and Grounds, Shah
  • Governance, David V. Dorris of Leroy
  • Technology and Economic Development, Eppley

Knorr, 57, the University's new CFO, is a seasoned public finance expert who served a combined 17 years as chief fiscal officer for the City of Chicago and for Cook County . His private-sector experience includes banking and auditing.

Knorr earned a reputation as an innovative municipal finance expert during a career with the City of Chicago from 1982 to 2002 that spanned three different mayors, starting with former Mayor Jane Byrne. Knorr served as chief financial officer and comptroller under Mayor Richard M. Daley and as comptroller under the late Mayor Harold Washington.

Following a two-year stint with Citigroup Capital Markets, Knorr returned to the public sector in 2004 and has served as comptroller for Cook County . His other private-sector employment included the Northern Trust Bank, where Knorr was a vice president for public finance, and Arthur Young & Co., where he was an auditor specializing in taxation and governmental financial reporting.

The chief financial officer has management oversight and responsibility for all financial functions and oversees all revenues, costs, capital expenditures, investments and debt. Knorr will join the University on Feb. 1, 2007.

The vice president/CFO also serves as comptroller of the Board of Trustees, treasurer of the University of Illinois Foundation and as an ex officio member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Weyhenmeyer, the new Interim Vice President for Technology and Economic Development, has spent the last six years as an associate vice president in the economic development area. He is a professor of cell biology, pathology and neuroscience with appointments on the U. of I.'s Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses.

President White announced that he has initiated a university-wide review of the technology-economic development area to be led by Dean Prith Banerjee of the UIC College of Engineering and Dean Avijit Ghosh of the College of Business in Urbana-Champaign. After the review, which is planned to take three months, the University will launch a search for a permanent Vice President for Technology and Economic Development.

The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with nearly 70,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U. of I. awards 17,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually. The University's $3.6 billion budget for fiscal 2007 includes $1.1 billion in direct appropriation and other payments from the State of Illinois, $610 million in externally funded research and $540 million in tuition income.


Related news: Walter K. Knorr named CFO for University of Illinois